Stephanie Temma Hier
Roadside Picnic

Olivia Vidmar
Bradley Ertaskiran, Montréal
September 28  –  October 28, 2023
Stephanie Temma HierRoadside Picnic, exhibition view, 2023.
Photo: Jean-Michael Seminaro, courtesy of the artist & Bradley Ertaskiran, Montréal
Bradley Ertaskiran, Montréal
September 28  –  October 28, 2023
Ducking through a low doorway into a cavernous bunker space, I audibly gasped as my gaze landed on a pile of enormous stoneware crabs. A tender oil painting of hands was set within the crabs’ claws, the tips hovering just close enough to the canvas to emphasize the softness of the open-faced palms. This was my first encounter with Stephanie Temma Hier’s work, in 2021 at Bradley Ertaskiran in Montréal. Her latest solo exhibition at the same gallery, Roadside Picnic, struck a similar chord: a (sometimes literal) balance among humour, discomfort, and delight.

Upon entering the gallery’s bright, first-floor space, I was drawn to the centre by stoneware sculpted tires. Stacked, deflated, and leaning against each other or hung on the gallery walls, their volume was staggering. As is characteristic in Hier’s work, many of these repeating sculptural elements framed oil paintings, acting as portals into her playful world of association games. In Overrated pleasures and underrated treasures (tire pile II) (2023) for example, a tire houses a painting divided into two scenes. One side depicts a swimmer dangling over calm water, the other a seahorse hovering over the ocean bed, grasping a Q-tip with its tail. On the gallery floor, among the pile of tires, stood the familiar figure of a 1990s troll doll, coated in a glossy turquoise, as if covered in algae. Each element is glazed in gem-toned purples, blues and greens, evoking the sense of having been immersed in strange waters for an extended period.

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This article also appears in the issue 111 - Tourism

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